Roger Harden's 20-foot shot at the buzzer gave eighth-ranked Kentucky a 54-52 victory over Louisiana State in a Southeastern Conference game last night in Baton Rouge, La.

"I knew I was going to shoot the minute I got my hands on it at the base line," Harden said. "To be honest, I knew it was down the minute it left my hands.

"I give a lot of credit to LSU, and especially to Coach Dale Brown. He had them prepared. He had them ready to play when they had every reason to quit."

LSU, playing its first game since an outbreak of chicken pox resulted in several players being quarantined, appeared to have forced overtime on Derrick Taylor's 20-footer with three seconds to play.

LSU, which is 17th ranked, played without Nikita Wilson, its team captain, and John Williams, its leading scorer and rebounder. Wilson is academically ineligible and Williams has chicken pox.

Kentucky is 17-2 overall and 8-1 atop the SEC standings. LSU is 16-4 and 4-4.

*Duke 89, Clemson 78: Fifth-ranked Duke made only two field goals in the last 10 minutes in Durham, N.C., but survived because Mark Alarie finished with 29 points.

Duke (19-2 overall and 6-2 in the ACC) shot 70 percent in the first half, which ended, 51-34. Johnny Dawkins' 15-foot jumper gave Duke its biggest lead at 61-38. He finished with 26 points.

Then everything went wrong for Duke. Glen McCants made consecutive three-point plays, and by the time Horace Grant made a jumper with 1:34 left, it was 74-72.

But Duke made eight of nine foul shots in the last 1:02.

"In the second half, I think the press interrupted them some," Clemson Coach Cliff Ellis said. "The second half is the best we've played against them since I have been here." His team is 14-6 and 2-4, but has lost six of its last 10.

*Georgia Tech 67, North Carolina State 54: In Raleigh, Mark Price scored 20 points, enabling third-ranked Georgia Tech to rally after falling behind by 16-8.

The Yellow Jackets (17-2 overall and 6-1 in the ACC) stretched their 33-29 halftime lead to 44-34 on John Salley's three-point play. North Carolina State (13-6 and 5-3) got no closer than six after that.

*Notre Dame 94, Utah 64: In South Bend, Ind., most everybody scored for the 14th-ranked Irish (13-3) but Scott Hicks and Ken Barlow led with 14 points each. Notre Dame's biggest lead was 80-48.

Jerry Stroman, who had led the Utes with an 18.1 average going into the game, finished with 12 points. Kelvin Upshaw had a game-high 17 for the Utes (12-8).

*St. John's 81, Villanova 61: Walter Berry had 28 points, Ron Rowan 18 and Willie Glass 16 to lead St. John's to a Big East victory in New York.

It wasn't easy for St. John's. It shot 72 percent the first half but lost the ball 11 times. Villanova later was within 61-57.

St. John's (20-2 overall) is 7-1 in the conference, as is Syracuse. St. John's will play Syracuse Saturday for the undisputed league lead. Villanova is 14-9 and 5-3.

*Oklahoma 87, Nebraska 60: The sixth-ranked Sooners made it 44 straight in Norman, Okla., as Darryl Kennedy and Tim McCalister each scored 20 points.

Oklahoma is 19-1 overall and is tied with Kansas for first place in the Big Eight at 4-1. Nebraska is 12-6 and 2-3